In down economies, you might receive a mountain of applications as many people look for a few jobs. In up economies, however, good help is hard to find because everyone's hiring and there aren't enough workers; that's the nature of the economy. At any time, it's important to fill positions with the right person to make sure your business runs well. So how do you find good employees?
You can post a help-wanted sign and maybe a posting on monster.com, but those are passive methods: you wait for people to come to you. Here are some more aggressive ways to find employees.
Headhunter. A headhunter is a classic route to take in this situation and is still a good choice. A headhunter will actively search for you, if you do not have the time to do it yourself, within the parameters you request. If your business keeps you tied up, this might be a good option.
Outsourcing. Outsourcing is a great stop-gap solution until you find an employee, but it can also replace positions within your company too. It could be as simple as having a company do your accounting for you, or it could be more complex with the entire process performed by another company. (One excellent example is from General Motors who has entire parts pre-assembled before they even get to the assembly line and are bolted on the car).
Recent graduates. This group is often overlooked because they lack work experience, but they are great to hire because their lack of experience makes them moldable to your processes AND helps to build loyalty toward your company. Their youth, enthusiasm, and energy will certainly help your business, too.
Competition. Don't overlook your competition as a source for employees. People want to make a move out of their current job but may feel mistakenly trapped in their jobs; if you provide a better job in the same industry, they may move. Depending on your industry, you may have to involve your lawyers to make sure there aren't legal problems (the financial industry is notorious for this). This group of people may not even need an increase in pay but might just want a promotion or to be involved in a company that has opportunities they don't see in their current employer.
Failed Business-owners. This group of people may not immediately spring to mind but they make great employees. They have demonstrated an entrepreneurial drive, some interest in business, and good initiative: qualities you want in an employee. They may also welcome the steady paycheck, too. The challenge is that if they don't feel that there are opportunities for ownership or partnership in your company, they may move on to their own business again in the future. Another challenge is that this group can be hard to find; it requires more connections, referrals, and word of mouth to find them.
The help-wanted ads or a "now hiring" sign in the window may work to draw people to you, but you want to take a more assertive approach to go out and find quality employees who will be a good fit for your company's position. Use these ideas to help you find the perfect match.